Who inspires who?

I’m fortunate that I work with and for leaders who inspire me.
When I saw this post, it got me thinking about what inspires me about them and how that inspiration serves me. Or anyone.

I also wonder, is it up to our leaders to inspire us, or is it up to us to find inspiration within ourselves?

The leaders in my life inspire me to bring my whole self to the table because they bring their whole selves to the table. They inspire me to challenge myself because they challenge themselves. They offer me opportunities I don’t always feel ready for, but their faith in me encourages me to go for it. I’m encouraged to believe in my worth and capabilities because they believe in theirs and mine. They are honest and vulnerable. They’re not perfect and don’t pretend to have all the answers. They lean on the team and admit when they are mistaken. They are intelligent, humble, immensely competent, empowered women who show me how to be the same.

This kind of leader inspires me, but what if it doesn’t inspire the next person? Some people don’t like being thrust into the deep end, and some don’t enjoy a leader who shares their vulnerable side. Are we saying that leaders need to be mind readers, too?

So, IS it up to our leaders to inspire us, or is it up to us to find inspiration within ourselves?

Furthermore, yes, I’m lucky to have two exceptional leaders at work. But as I thought of those inspirational leaders in my life, I also thought of my coworkers, classmates, instructors, friends, neighbours, and family. I thought of my parents, my husband, and my children. And I even thought of myself.

All these leaders demonstrate how to be the kind of leader I want to embody. But also, through all I mentioned, all that I see in them, they show me that I don’t have to strive to be any different than I am. I have the opportunity to believe in myself since every single admirable quality or attribute I recognize in others lives inside me already. I see these qualities in others because I already possess them; this is what draws me to inspirational leaders: my desire and inspiration is being reflected back at me!

If we sit back waiting for leaders to inspire us, I believe we operate from victimhood. When we don’t feel inspired, we can point to our leaders and say it’s all their fault.

Ultimately, it might be up to US to inspire our leaders, too. To show them how great THEY are and can be. This inspiration deal is, in truth, a two-way street.

Now that’s something to consider.

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